Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Back and on the Upswing

Oh. Migoodness.

I've been gone for a long time, right?!

Well, really, I've been here. As in here, in my house. Mostly on the couch or in my bed, and mostly not wearing any makeup and living in pajamas (I'll explain in a moment...) But I've been gone away from here. As in, here on my blog.


Well, truth be told, I've had a lot going on in the ol' personal life. Long story short? I'm pregnant. Yeah, I was surprised, too. And, though I'm thrilled and beyond blessed and so grateful---pregnancy makes me very, violently, horrifically, unbelievably ill. At least for the first several months. On top of that, there was a death in my family. We lost my grandpa to leukemia recently, which has been hard and sad for my family.

So, I took a few months off from blogging, gift basket and gift bouquet creating, personal shopping, makeup, styling photo shoots, styling in general, and, to put it frankly, any sort of moving or becoming vertical (except to throw up...TMI? Sorry...) and focused on my family and my fetus.

Now that things seem to be on the upswing, I'm anxious and excited to get back into my work, but first I want to quickly say thank you to all of the friends and family who have been really supportive of me and my husband and kids while we dealt with my illness and the loss of my awesome Grandpa Tug.

But things are getting much more functional, for lack of a better word, around these parts and I've been having a fun time doing some personal shopping and filling some gift basket and bouquet orders. I even wore mascara today. I told you...things are looking up!

I'm excited to incorporate some maternity concepts into my Wardrobe Wednesdays and Thursday Threads (and everything else, really) but FEAR NOT, this has not become a pregnancy blog! Just as my life bends and twists with the changes in the air, so will my blog. But one thing stays the same--we are always searching. Though the last few months I've been mostly searching for anti-nausea ideas and ways to keep down fluids without incorporating the dreaded IV Therapy and all that nonsense, the fact remains the same. This has always been a place where I go to search and discover. Be it clothes, trends, fashion, music, ideas, anecdotes, love and laughter or, if we're being real, a lot of my general annoyances with society and life, there is always more to find and ALWAYS more to learn.

So happy to be back into the swing of it, back building gift baskets, back in the shops and boutiques and back at my computer desk. I've missed it, that's for sure.

I'd love to hear any suggestions for posts or reviews so don't be afraid to hit up the comments!
Adios for now!!

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wardrobe Wednesday: Leather and Sequins

Leather and sequins are two of this girl's favorite things! Let's start with the sparkles, shall we?

This look is one of my favorites. This sequin lipstick sweatshirt is great over a chambray top or with leggings and converse (how I wear it almost every other time!) but I have to say I'm almost always a fan of the layers!

Sequin Sweatshirt: Target; Chambray Top: Old Navy; Maxi Skirt: Old Navy; Leopard Print Sneakers: Target; Bracelets: Express 

And lastly, leather is a trend that is always on trend but never too trendy. (Say that five times fast!) Just ask Sandra Dee or Madonna or Diane Von Furstenburg or Rhianna or Taylor Swift or Coco Chanel. Okay, you get my point. Leather isn't going anywhere...and that's fine by me!

Leather leggings: Agnes and Dora; Polka Dot Blouse: Lauren Conrad for Kohls; Green Pumps: DSW; Bracelets: Express and Old Navy; Earrings: Stolen from my little sister

What have you guys been wearing?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Personal Shopping: Easter Baskets

Hey everyone! Spring is in the air and I am just loving it.
One thing that not a lot of people realize is that personal shopping isn't just for clothes and shoes! Easter is right around the corner and I'm happily filling orders for custom made Easter baskets! (Mother's Day baskets and Teacher Appreciation Day baskets are also available!) I thought maybe I'd show you some of my favorites that I've been putting together this year as well as let you in on my giveaway for a basket on my Facebook page!

The Easter Bunny loves those with allergies too! :)

For your little girl!

For your little boy!

For "him"!

For "her"!

Family set! Buy any 4 baskets and get 15% off of your order!

For "her"!

For your little boy!

For the beauty lover!

For the beauty lover!

For the baker!

As you can see, baskets can be filled with just about anything! I love filling baskets for your favorite people with their favorite things! Shrink wrapping is great for shipping, as well.

This basket was sent to a missionary. It's filled with ties, dress socks, treats and the like! Again, shrink wrapping is prefect for shipping!

I've been filling these orders at all price points. They range anywhere from $20-$200! I am also happy to shrink wrap and ship or deliver any baskets. And they don't just have to be for Easter! Who doesn't love a gift basket for their birthday, anniversary or "just because"?!

Now, for the giveaway! Head over to my Facebook page and enter to win this basket valued at $50! All you have to do is find the giveaway post on the page and find the giveaway rules there! Here are pictures of the basket you can win!


This feather themed basket includes a candle, jewelry tree, necklace, water bottle, decorative sign, hand soap, lots of little goodies, a makeup bag, eggs filled with candy and some feather themed surprises! Head over to my Facebook page to win it!

Happy Easter, everyone! 

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

My >>INEXPENSIVE<< Nightly Facial

Skincare is something that has always been very important to me. As a teenager, I always had breakouts but as I went into my twenties, the normal teenage breakouts didn't go away! I realized I had to really take care of my skin in order to keep it healthy. 

One of the ways that I make sure my skin stays healthy and happy is to treat myself to a facial every single night. That's right. A facial every.single.night. (And it definitely helps wind me down from the day, as well!) The trick with this is to exfoliate it correctly. Most scrubs out there on the market are only going to create microscopic tears in your pores and skin, will make your pores look bigger over time, and aggravate the sensitive skin on your face. Sure, you can toss three bills towards an expensive scrub that claims not to aggravate your skin, but in my opinion, an exfoliating facial brush is definitely the way to go. It took me a while to jump on the band wagon of these brushes, mainly because of the price point, but I'm a believer now. Mainly, I'm a believer because I found a great brush, at a great price, and most importantly an amazing outcome.

I use the Mary Kay's version of an exfoliating brush and I'm so happy with it. I used it consistently, every day for a couple of weeks and could tell the biggest difference in the softness of my skin and the look of my pores. Now, I've used it nightly for two months and I'm hooked. Not only that, but my breakouts have diminished down to next to nothing. I feel like any dry spots are buffed away gently and my skin feels amazing after each use. That being said, I love it enough that I want to share my nightly skincare routine with you, centered around my new favorite brush.

First, I remove my makeup with a makeup wipe. Make sure to find one that isn't harsh on your skin. I prefer the Garnier Refreshing Wipes. They're inexpensive and effective, and they feel great on your skin.

Wouldn't it be funny if this were actually me? Ha!

Next, I take off my eye makeup with Johnson's Head to Toe Baby Wash. Again, INEXPENSIVE! Lather it up a bit in your hands and this will remove your stubborn eye makeup and doesn't bother your eyes (tear free, for babies) and is safe for the thin skin around your eyes (gentle, for babies).

At this point, I use two pumps of  Cera Ve Foaming Facial Cleanser right onto the brush head of my Mary Kay Cleansing Brush. 
At this point it REALLY foams up. This is great for me as my skin tends to be more oily. (Tip: If you have oily skin, always use a cleanser that is clear and preferably foaming.) The brush in conjunction with my cleanser really gets deep into my skin and pores and cleans out anything and everything. The great thing about this brush is that any cleanser will work wonderfully with it. I have used it with a more moisturizing cleanser that doesn't foam up and it works great.

Then, after I rinse and dry my face, I use a toner. I use Apple Cider Vinegar on a cotton ball. Once again, so inexpensive. Apple Cider Vinegar is a natural antibacterial toner and will remove anything left over on your skin without using harsh chemicals or alcohol. Listen, the fumes from this could make your eyes water so don't use it on the areas around your eyes. This will make your skin look red, so don't do this unless you're ready to go to bed. I love that it's safe, natural and effective.

Finally, moisturize. I use (always will!) Egyptian Magic for my nightly moisturizer. The jar is about $40 which seems pricey, but one jar will last me six months or more! I use about the size of a dime, rub it in the palm of my hands to warm it up and apply. It will feel oily (as it has olive oil in it-TOTALLY safe for your pores and skin. Look it up...) so it's definitely a nighttime moisturizer/serum. This will sooth anything that feels tingly from the vinegar.

Now, this has been my skincare routine for a few years now, and it's worked alright. It's kept my breakouts mostly at bay, but I've never been able to get rid of that "ruddy" look. I wanted glowy, beautiful skin before my makeup went on. When I got this brush, that's when it all changed, and the best part? It doesn't cost you more than your grocery bill! The hang up for me with buying an exfoliating cleansing brush was always the price. $100? Plus brush heads? Plus a charging station or batteries? No.

This brush comes WITH batteries and TWO brush heads. It's water resistant and I use mine each night in the shower and store it there, too. I've been doing so for 2 months, every night, and wouldn't ever go without it. Everything seen below is only $50. But even still, that's sort of steep for some of us sometimes. My favorite Mary Kay distributor, Ema, has agreed to give all of my readers 15% off. And not only that, but she's willing to give you 15% off anything from Mary Kay, though I'd definitely recommend that brush!! 

All you need to do is send Ema an email with your order (you can browse the products here) and use the code "hall15" in your email and you will receive 15% off your entire purchase! 

Contact Ema at after browsing the products here and don't forget the code "hall15" and set yourself up with a great skincare routine.

Also, let me know if you'd like to see some makeup tutorials or looks using the Mary Kay line, since you can get 15% off the makeup, too! It's a discount for more than just skincare!

Have fun shopping, and treat yourself to a facial as soon as you can get your hands on this cleansing brush!

This post is sponsored by Ema Hall with Mary Kay. All opinions are my own and no recommendations have been made that are not sincere. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Wardrobe Wednesday

This next look I really liked because the colors were bold but the outfit and fundamentals themselves were classic. I call these pink shoes my Barbie shoes. They look just like the little pumps I used to have lose for my Barbie dolls. Pair it with flats and you're even more casual, or trade in the pants for a pencil skirt and tuck in the top and it's even dressier. I loved it with a lavender cheek and lip. 
Striped top: My Sister's Closet; Grey Cardigan: Kohls; Black Bootcut Jeans: Old Navy; Pink Pumps:; Statement Necklace: Gift from my brother; Lipstick: Mac Viva Glam Nicki 2 (amplified)
This next look was a casual one. It is a great Saturday errands look, especially when it's cold out. It may have inspired me to listen to Nirvana and Pearl Jam all day. I'll admit there is definitely some grunge inspired pieces involved, but I love it! I put it with a dark lip and bolder brow--Figured while I was at it, I would go all the way with the 90's look, yeah?

Sweatshirt: Old Navy; Jeans: Old Navy Rockstar Skinnies; Beanie: Steve Madden; Moto Boots: Steve Madden; Lipstick: Mac Heroine (Matte) with Milani Gloss

And Finally, on our way to my little man's 5th Birthday party, we were casual.  

Ellie's Outfit: Top: Children's Place; Leggings: Children's Place; Boots: Target; Bow: Anniston's Accessories
Landon's Outfit: Jeans: Ruum; Shirt: Old Navy; Jacket: Old Navy; Shoes: WalMart
Alyssa's Outfit:
Top: Kohls; High Waisted Jeans: My Sister's Closet; Dorsay Flats: My Sister's Closet; Watch: Gift From Hubby 

 Yes, I know there is a string on my pants. :/
Happy Wednesday, Everyone!!

Monday, March 31, 2014

How to Make Your Outfits Work Year Round

One thing I'm always on the hunt for are pieces that can be utilized year round. I hate when I only get a few months of wear out of an item and I'm always trying to find ways to make them work from one season to the next. Who isn't on a budget these days?! We need to make our wardrobes stretch and here are a few looks that are very transitional, but can also be utilized when it's very cold and very hot out! And I'll tell you how!

This first outfit is a good one because it can be used year round very easily. As is, it's great for late Spring or early Fall. 
Top: Kohls, Scarf: Nordstrom Rack, Boots: Kohls (Gift from Hubby); Skirt: SexyModest Boutique for $19.99
How To Style For Winter: Throw on a leather jacket and tights (in any color! That's the beauty of this tan/taupe skirt) and you're golden. If it's especially cold or snowy, you could even replace the short boots for taller ones.

How to style for Summer: Replace the scarf with a statement necklace or bracelet and replace the boots with either flats or pumps and you're set for the blistering June/July/August time frame. 

This skirt is from SexyModest Boutique and is one that I realize I reach for time and time again! It's stretchy and comfortable while still coming across in a very put together/dressy way that only comes from a pencil skirt. I even wore this skirt throughout my pregnancy and because it is so stretchy it worked with my growing belly, and it also worked post pregnancy thanks to all those ruffles and ruching. I love it to this day, too and I'm 2.5 years post pregnancy! This is just a great skirt and it comes in more colors than you can imagine! It is a one size skirt and fits my size 7 frame just fine, and I have put clients in it up to a size 14. And like I Don't know how I lived without the sweat pants of pencil skirts! No really, it's that comfortable. (My advice is to wash this in a garment bag so that the stretchy material doesn't snag on anything else you may be washing with it, and lay flat to dry.)

Here is a look at the different colors available in this skirt and another way to style the same one I wear! 
Again, this skirt is only $19.99 and if you use the discount code "alyssahall10" you can get 10% off (OF ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING ON THE SITE!). As always, free shipping!

This next outfit is one I just love. I actually wear it all the time and just swap out my accessories for variety. 
Leggings: Agnes and Dora; Jewelry: My Sister's Closet; Pumps: Justfab; Tunic: SexyModest Boutique  

These leggings are by Agnes and Dora and I would highly recommend them!! THEY ARE SO SOFT. The tunic is by SexyModest Boutique  and is one that I reach for all.the.time. The length is perfect for leggings, but not so long that it looks like it could potentially be a dress. I can pair it with skinny jeans, too. I probably wear this top once a week, no lie. I also love that I don't have to wear a camisole or anything like that under it. It's thinner/breathable for the summer months, but I never have to worry about it being too see-through. 
How to Style for Summer: Swap out the pumps for sparkly sandals or flats. You can even add a peachier lip color for the warmer weather! 

How to Style for Winter: Put a denim jacket over the top and trade the pumps for black moto boots. Put a big, wool scarf on for those especially frigid days!

Lastly, this is my favorite outfit of that photoshoot. I was comfortable, I was edgy...I could wear this to dinner with pumps or keep it as is for errands during the day. 
Lace Top and Denim Floral Stud Vest:SexyModest Boutique  
How to Style for Summer: Ditch the jeans for a pair of colored denim shorts (I would go with white or light pink). Wear sandals or keep the converse-up to you! The long sleeves make a summer look interesting but the lace keeps it from making you too hot. However, on one of those especially hot days, trade the lace top for a thick strap or racer back tank or basic tee!

How to Style for Winter: You can always make a look winter-worthy by adding boots, but be unexpected and put a fitted sweatshirt or sweater under the vest! You can also keep the look completely as is, and just add a scarf. The different layers and textures are great, and make the laid back look of the converse and cuffed skinnies an awesome contrast.

Jeans: Old Navy; Shoes: Converse; Lace Shirt and Vest:SexyModest Boutique  
The top and vest are from SexyModest Boutique and may be two of my favorite pieces from their boutique. As is, this is a great spring look. Here's what I'd do to keep it utilized all year.

Here are a few other ways to style the vest and lace top separately:

A big shout out to Malae Talley for her photography work, and to SexyModest Boutique for sponsoring this post! What do you guys think?! Head on over to the website using the link in this post and use the code "alyssahall10" for your 10% discount on ANYTHING on the site. (That includes the $5 jewelry section--check out that post here.)

Have fun shopping!

Though this post is sponsored by SexyModest Boutique, as usual all opinions are my own and nothing has been falsified for compensation or any other purposes.